SELC joins Lick Creek protection effort

Environmental, Sound Rivers

Posted on February 10th, 2023

Read SELC’s letter to Durham city and county officials here.

The Southern Environmental Law Center is moving on Lick Creek, an impaired waterway being put at further risk by rampant development in Durham.

Part of the Neuse River watershed, Lick Creek is a tributary of Falls Lake, a major source of drinking water for the area.

“Since we last checked in, much has happened,” said Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop, referring to the recent Durham City Council voting against another development proposal — this one, off Kemp Road — citing concerns to water quality in the creek. “This demonstrated that we are building momentum among city council members, though the vote was not unanimous.”

SELC followed up the decision with a letter to Durham City Council and county officials, reiterating the ask for a moratorium on new development in Lick Creek until two proposed amendments are passed that would strengthen sediment and erosion controls and limit mass grading. Read SELC’s letter to Durham city and county officials here.

“SELC is looking to work with Durham to protect Lick Creek from polluted runoff,” Sam said.

After meeting with Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neil and Councilwoman DeDreana Freeman — who Sam says are big supporters of clean-water advocacy — Sam was invited to present her findings from bi-weekly sediment pollution sampling at four sites in the watershed and make recommendations to City Council at their upcoming work session on March 9. In the coming weeks, she’ll also be meeting again with an SELC-contracted specialist to do another survey of macroinvertebrates in the area.

“In summary, I would say that we are making progress with the sampling and grassroots advocacy, and the legal strategy is still unfolding,” Sam said.

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